Job 13:3
Surely I would speak to the Almighty, and I desire to reason with God.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Job 13:3. Surely I would speak to the Almighty — I had rather debate the matter with God than with you. I am not afraid of presenting my person and cause before him, who is a witness of my integrity, and would not deal so unmercifully with me as you do.13:1-12 With self-preference, Job declared that he needed not to be taught by them. Those who dispute are tempted to magnify themselves, and lower their brethren, more than is fit. When dismayed or distressed with the fear of wrath, the force of temptation, or the weight of affliction, we should apply to the Physician of our souls, who never rejects any, never prescribes amiss, and never leaves any case uncured. To Him we may speak at all times. To broken hearts and wounded consciences, all creatures, without Christ, are physicians of no value. Job evidently speaks with a very angry spirit against his friends. They had advanced some truths which nearly concerned Job, but the heart unhumbled before God, never meekly receives the reproofs of men.Surely I would speak to the Almighty - I would desire to carry my cause directly up to God, and spread out my reasons before him. This Job often professed to desire; see Job 9:34-35. He felt that God would appreciate the arguments which he would urge, and would do justice to them. His friends he felt were censorious and severe. They neither did justice to his feelings, nor to his motives. They perverted his words and arguments; and instead of consoling him, they only aggravated his trials, and caused him to sink into deeper sorrows. But he felt if he could carry his cause to God, he would do ample justice to him and his cause. The views which he entertained of his friends he proceeds to state at considerable length, and without much reserve, in the following verses. 3. Job wishes to plead his cause before God (Job 9:34, 35), as he is more and more convinced of the valueless character of his would-be "physicians" (Job 16:2). According to thy wish, Job 11:5, I had rather debate the matter with God than with you. I am not afraid of presenting my person and cause before him, who is a witness of my integrity, and would not deal so unmercifully with me as you do. Surely I would speak to the Almighty,.... Or "therefore I would speak" (l), since he knew as much as his friends, and they knew no more than he, if so much, he would have no more to do with them, they should not be his judges; nor would he be determined by them, but would appeal to God, and plead his own cause before him, by whom he doubted not he should be candidly heard; he knew that he was the Judge of all the earth, and would do right; and that he sat on a throne judging righteously, and would maintain his right and his cause; that he would judge him according to his righteousness and integrity, of which he was conscious, and would pass a just decisive sentence in his favour, and give the cause for him against his friends, as he afterwards did; for this is not to be understood of speaking to him in prayer, though that is a speech either of the heart or of the tongue, or of both, to God; and which he allows of, yea, delights in, and which is a wonderful condescension; and therefore it may be used with boldness and freedom, and which gracious souls are desirous of; and the consideration of God being "almighty", or "all sufficient", is an argument, motive, and inducement to them to speak or pray unto him, since he is able to do all things for them they want or desire of him; but here it is to be understood of speaking to him, or before him, in a judicial way, at his bar, before his tribunal, he sitting as a Judge to hear the cause, and decide the controversy between Job and his friends. So, he render it, "I would speak for the Almighty, and desire to reason for God" (m); seeing he knew so much of him; not speak against him, as his friends suggested he had, but for him, on behalf of his sovereignty, justice, holiness, wisdom, and strength, as he had done, and would do yet more; by which he would have it known, that as he had as much knowledge as they, he was as zealous as any of them to plead for God, and defend him, and promote his honour and glory to the uttermost; but the other sense is best:

and I desire to reason with God: not at the bar of his justice, with respect to the justification of his person by his own righteousness; so no man can reason with God, as to approve himself just with him; nor will any sensible man desire to enter into judgment with him on that foot; a poor sensible sinner may reason with God at the throne of grace, and plead for pardoning mercy and justifying grace through the blood and righteousness of Christ, and from the declarations, proclamations, and promises of grace through him; but of neither of these sorts of reasoning, are the words to be understood, but of debating the matter in controversy between Job and his friends before God, that he might hear it, and decide it; this was what Job was desirous of, of having the cause brought before him, the case stated and pleaded, and reasoned on in his presence; this he signifies would be a pleasure to him; he "should delight" to have it so, as the word (n) here used may be interpreted.

(l) "ideo, propterea", Pineda. (m) "pro Omnipotente--pro Deo", Junius & Tremellius. (n) "lubet", Schultens.

Surely I would speak to the Almighty, and I desire {a} to reason with God.

(a) For although he knew that God was just, which was revealed in his ordinary working and another in his secret counsel, yet he uttered his affection to God, because he was not able to understand the reason he punished him.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
3. But this knowledge neither helps nor hinders him. In spite of this knowledge, if not because of it, he desires to reason with God.

surely I would speak] Rather, but I would (same word in Job 13:4).Verses 3-13. - The second section of Job's argument is prefaced, like the first (Job 12:2-5), with a complaint with respect to the conduct of his opponents. He taxes them with the fabrication of lies (ver 4), with want of skill as physicians of souls (ver. 4), with vindicating God by reasonings in which they do not themselves believe (vers. 7, 8), and consequently with really mocking him (ver. 9). Having warned them that they are more likely to offend God than to please him by such arguments as those that they have urged (vers. 10-12), he calls on them to hold their peace, and allow him to plead his cause with God (ver. 13). Verse 3. - Surely I would speak to the Almighty. It is not Job's wish to argue his ease with his three friends, but to reason it out with God. His friends, however, interfere with this design, check it, thwart it, prevent him from carrying it out. He must therefore first speak a few words to them. And I desire to reason with God. Compare God's own invitation to his people, "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord" (Isaiah 1:18), and again, "Put me in remembrance, let us plead together; declare thou, that thou mayest be justified" (Isaiah 43:26); which indicate God's gracious willingness to allow men to plead on their own behalf before him, and do their best to justify themselves. 22 He discovereth deep things out of darkness,

And bringeth out to light the shadow of death;

23 He giveth prosperity to nations and then destroyeth them,

Increase of territory to nations and then carrieth them away;

24 He taketh away the understanding of the chief people of the land,

And maketh them to wander in a trackless wilderness;

25 They grope in darkness without light,

He maketh them to stagger like a drunken man.

The meaning of Job 12:22 in this connection can only be, that there is nothing so finely spun out that God cannot make it visible. All secret plans of the wicked, all secret sins, and the deeds of the evil-doer though veiled in deep darkness, He bringeth before the tribunal of the world. The form of writing given by the Masora is עמוּקות with koph raphatum, consequently plur. from עמוּק, like ערוּמים, עצוּמים from ערוּם, עצוּם, not from עמק.

(Note: Kimchi in his Wrterbuch adopts the form עמקּות, but gives Abulwalid as an authority for the lengthened form, which, according to the Masora on Leviticus 13:3, Leviticus 13:25, is the traditional. The two exceptions where the form occurs with a long vowel are Proverbs 23:27 and this passage.)

The lxx translates משגיא πλανῶν, as it is also explained in several Midrash-passages, but only by a few Jewish expositors (Jachja, Alschech) by מטעה. The word, however, is not משׁגּיא, but משׂגּיא with ש sinistrum, after which in Midrash Esther it is explained by מגדיל; and Hirzel correctly interprets it of upward growth (Jerome after the Targ. unsuitably, multiplicat), and שׁטח, on the other hand, of growth in extent. The latter word is falsely explained by the Targ. in the sense of expandere rete, and Abenezra also falsely explains: He scatters nations, and brings them to their original peace. The verb שׁטח is here connected with ל, as הפתּה (Genesis 9:27); both signify to make a wider and longer space for any one, used here of the ground where they dwell and rule. The opposite, in an unpropitious sense, is הנחה, which is used here, as 2 Kings 18:11, in a similar sense with הגלה (abducere, i.e., in servitutem). We have intentionally translated גוים nations, עם people; for גּוי, as we shall show elsewhere, is the mass held together by the ties of a common origin, language, and country; (עם) עם, the people bound together by unity of government, whose membra praecipua are consequently called העם ראשׁי. הארץ is, in this connection, the country, although elsewhere, as Isaiah 24:4, comp. Job 42:5, הארץ עם signifies also the people of the earth or mankind; for the Hebrew language expresses a country as a portion of the earth, and the earth as a whole, by the same name. Job dwells longer on this tragic picture, how God makes the star of the prosperity of these chiefs to set in mad and blind self-destruction, according to the proverb, quem Deus perdere vult prius dementat. This description seems to be echoed in many points in Isaiah, especially in the oracle on Egypt, Job 19 (e.g., כּשּׁכּור, Job 19:14). The connection ברך לא בתהו is not genitival; but דרך לא is either an adverbial clause appended to the verb, as חקר לא, Job 34:24, בנים לא, 1 Chronicles 2:30, 1 Chronicles 2:32, or, which we prefer as being more natural, and on account of the position of the words, a virtual adjective: in a trackless waste, as אישׁ לא, Job 38:26; עבות לא, 2 Samuel 23:4 (Olsh.).

Job here takes up the tone of Eliphaz (comp. Job 5:13.). Intentionally he is made to excel the friends in a recognition of the absolute majesty of God. He is not less cognizant of it than they.

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